Affirmations and Denials

Ernie Gruen and Mike Bickle’s Joint Statement from 1993

May 16, 1993

This is a joint statement from the leadership of Full Faith Church of Love Ministries and Metro Vineyard Fellowship of Kansas City.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons . . . For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

—1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12 (NASB)

Ernie Gruen and Mike Bickle have forgiven each other of all offenses. Their senior leadership has come together in a spirit of forgiveness; we also ask the Body of Christ to forgive us of any offenses that we have caused the Church universal. We feel it is time to bring to a close the events of the past. We believe it is time to go on and to seek to heal past wounds. We want to publicly lay down any personal animosities, wounds, or misunderstandings between the two churches. Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as one Body, we want to be joined and knit together in His love, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3, NASV). We desire the Body of Christ represented by our churches to flow together in the love and mercy of God and begin to rebuild relationships and friendships.

Ernest J. Gruen

Mike Bickle

Download a PDF document of the joint statement »

The Bridal Paradigm

We affirm that the Bridegroom message is about Jesus’ emotions for us, His beauty, His commitments to us (to share His heart, home, throne, secrets, and beauty), and our response of wholehearted love and obedience to Him. This message starts with experiencing Jesus’ heart, emotions, and affections for us, and understanding that He delights in us, enjoys us, values our work, and calls us to partner with Him in ministry.

We affirm that the bridal paradigm refers to having a bridal perspective of the kingdom. As Christians, we see the kingdom through the eyes of a bride, with wholehearted, loyal love for God. There are many paradigms of the kingdom of God in Scripture, including agricultural, military, and economic paradigms. The Spirit uses the bridal paradigm of the kingdom to transform our hearts, so that the first and great commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Mt. 22:37–38) might take first place in our lives.

We deny, we refuse, all sensual overtones in proclaiming Jesus as the Bridegroom. Jesus is not our lover or boyfriend. We do not go on “dates” with Jesus. Receiving the “kiss of God’s Word” (Song 1:2) has nothing to do with physically kissing God. Neither the spiritual interpretation of the Song of Solomon nor references to “the romance of the gospel” have anything to do with sensuality, but with the adventuresome love that is filled with a spirit of abandonment that sacrificially loves and obeys Jesus. An example of this is seen when Paul and Silas sang songs of love to Jesus after being beaten and thrown into prison (Acts 16:22–26).

Jesus was the first to introduce the bridal paradigm to the Church. He referred to Himself as a bridegroom (Mt. 9:15); He compared the kingdom to His Father arranging a marriage for Him (Mt. 22:2); He described ministry as those encountering Him as a bridegroom (Mt. 25:1); He will return in answer to the prayers of His Church crying out in her bridal identity—”The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!'” (Rev. 22:17).

Passages that point to Jesus as the Bridegroom God: Isaiah 54:4–12; 62:2–5; Jeremiah 2:2; 3:14; 31:32, Ezekiel 16:13–15, 32; 23:1–45; Hosea 1:2; 2:7, 14–23; 3:1–5; Matthew 9:15; 22:1–14; 25:1–13; John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-32; Revelation 19:7-9; 21:9; 22:17.

Intimacy with God

We affirm that spiritual intimacy with God refers to developing a deep personal relationship with God through the Spirit and the Word. In other words, it is based on a deep understanding and knowledge of what the Word of God says about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

We deny that spiritual intimacy is associated with anything related to human sensuality.

Explanation: For example, in Song of Songs 1:2, the phrase “kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (NKJV) can be seen as an analogy, a divine metaphor referring to Jesus imparting revelation of the words of His mouth to our hearts. We speak of “the kisses of His Word,” not of physical kisses from Jesus.

The Use of Prophecy

We affirm that the Bible is the inerrant and sole objective source of direction and wisdom for the life of a believer. We believe in the operation of the prophetic ministry as a source of edification, exhortation, and comfort from the Lord (1 Cor. 14:3). We believe that the subjectivity of the prophetic ministry must be vigorously tested against the inspired and infallible Scriptures that God gave for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

We deny that subjective prophetic experiences are equal to the inspired Word of God. In other words, all personal prophecy must uphold and honor the Scripture.

Explanation: Simple prophecy is limited to edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). It is to enrich our spiritual life, rather than give direction in the domestic areas of our life. Edification speaks of spiritually building or edifying someone’s spirit by confirming their destiny or God’s purpose for their life. The most common way to edify a person through simple prophecy is to give a Scripture that has been previously important to them. Exhortation includes calling people to persevere and to not give up on their promises to God in hard times, and to not give in to sin. Comfort speaks of making known God’s perspective in a great disappointment or setback in a person’s life, by giving God’s perspective in telling them that God has a plan in their time of pressure.

We urge people to avoid giving others prophetic direction in the domestic areas of their life. This includes issues related to spousal designation, bearing children, changing jobs, moving, buying or selling (e.g., a house), leaving one church for another, etc. We may give godly counsel to one another in domestic areas without presenting it as a prophecy. Personal prophecies should be given with others as witnesses (we request that prophecies be recorded when possible). Some people have an over-reliance on dreams for direction in their domestic lives. God never intended to direct people mostly by dreams. Yes, God does use dreams to give some direction; however, dreams are not to be a substitute for gaining wisdom from Scripture. Some people rely on dreams for decisions because it absolves them from responsibility and lacking wisdom if the decision turns out to be wrong (Eccl. 5:3, 7).

The Tabernacle of David

We affirm that the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority (Mt. 21:13; Lk. 18:7–8; Rev. 5:8, 8:3–5, 22:17; cf. Isa. 62:6–7; Joel 2:12–17, 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.

We deny that the restoration of the tabernacle of David is the same as the end-time prayer movement.

Explanation: In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord night and day. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians.

The promise of the restoration of the tabernacle of David refers to the governmental restoration of David’s international rule as part of the restoration of national Israel in the millennial kingdom.

The context of Amos 9:11–12 is the governmental rule of Jesus from Jerusalem over all the nations. In Acts 15:13–18, James referred to Amos 9:11 declaring that Gentiles should be accepted into the predominantly Jewish Body of Christ, without needing to convert to Judaism. The apostles understood that in the end times, God would reestablish the Messianic kingdom over all the nations. God had just visited the Gentiles with salvation at Cornelius’s house (Acts 10). This was in agreement with Old Testament prophecy. James quoted Amos to prove that many Gentiles will be saved in the context of the restoration of the Davidic dynastic reign. This restoration will, of course, include David’s heart for worship and prayer. Though Amos 9:11 is not prophesying primarily about 24/7 intercessory worship, this kind of worship-based prayer will be a foundational reality in the release of Jesus’ worldwide rule over the nations. The prophetic word given to Mike Bickle in May 1983 was that “God would release 24-hour-a-day prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David;” in other words, it would involve prophetic singers and musicians. The practice of worship and intercession is not, in itself, the actual restoration of David’s tabernacle.

The Manifest Sons of God Theology

We affirm that all born-again believers will be “manifest” as sons of God after the second coming of Christ.

We deny that we will experience the fullness of our inheritance as sons of God before Jesus returns.

Explanation: Some uphold the false teaching that in this age believers can have faith that will enable them to attain to qualities of life that are reserved only for believers in the resurrection.

The Latter Rain

We affirm that the Church will experience the greatest outpouring of the Spirit in history before Jesus returns (Joel 2:28–32). This outpouring will result in a great ingathering of souls and a renewing of the Church so that believers will walk in godliness as declared in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1–7:28). We affirm the presence of the fivefold ministry for the equipping of the saints (Eph. 4:11–13).

We deny the distinctive doctrines that go beyond Scripture that are often associated with the Latter Rain theology that was popularized in the 1950s.

Explanation: Some have wrongly identified our ministry today with the false teachings that were popularized by some in the Latter Rain movement. At no time in the past did we have any relationship with this movement.

Dominion Theology

We affirm that God’s purpose is for Jesus to come back to fully establish His kingdom rule over all the earth. After the second coming, the saints will rule the earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ when He sets up His government on earth in Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 5:10; 20:3–6). We believe that believers in this age are called to serve Jesus in politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation. We do not have the assurance that all laws and governments will be changed until after the second coming of Jesus when He establishes His millennial kingdom.

We deny that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ.

Explanation: Some believe and teach that all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus.

Joel’s Army

We affirm that the army in Joel 2:1–11 was an ungodly Babylonian army that destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. We believe that this passage has a double fulfillment in that it also points to the Antichrist’s army that will attack Israel at the end of the age. We affirm that Joel was prophesying about the lifestyle of godly believers in Joel 2:12–17.

We deny that Joel 2:1–11 describes the end-time Church.

Explanation: The term Joel’s army has been used to signify the people who walk out the principles of prayer with fasting as taught in Joel 2:12–17. The term has been used much like “Joseph Company,” “Gideon Band,” or “David Company” to signify the people who embraced the godly qualities that Joel taught about prayer, fasting, and wholehearted obedience. Paul Cain had a prophetic word about a “Joel’s army in training,” referring to a group of people who would give themselves to prayer and fasting according to Joel 2:12–17. When used like this, “Joel’s army” does not refer specifically to the destroying army mentioned in Joel 2:1–11, but to people who walk out the lifestyle portrayed in Joel 2:12–17. The misunderstanding comes from giving the title “Joel’s army” to both the destroying army (Joel 2:1–11) and the group of people who give themselves to fasting and prayer (Joel 2:12–17).

The Sanctity of Marriage

The IHOPKC leadership team upholds the New Testament view of the sanctity of sex in the context of marriage between one man and one woman. However, we strongly oppose victimization or violence against any sector of society that disagrees with the biblical view. We honor the dignity and rights of all who differ from us.

“God Loves Uganda” Documentary and IHOPKC

The IHOPKC leadership team have put together a statement of answers to questions that some are asking about our stance on the God Loves Uganda documentary.

Q. What is God Loves Uganda (GLU)?

A. In spring 2013 a documentary was released at the Sundance Film Festival, entitled God Loves Uganda. The documentary explores the rationale behind a controversial piece of legislation proposed in Uganda that called for draconian, punitive measures against acts of homosexuality. The main rationale that the documentary explores is the influence of evangelicalism in North America, and in particular it follows a group of students from the International House of Prayer. The inference of the film is that such “foot soldiers” are fomenting anti-gay rhetoric and fervor, which has led to persecution of those in Uganda who identify themselves as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender).

Q. Does the International House of Prayer support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda?

A. No, we do not. We never have, and stated as such in the interviews for the documentary (which never made it to the final cut of the film). We have very little to do with Uganda as an organization; we do not have missionaries in Uganda and do not send a dollar of our budget to Uganda. Our primary mandate as an organization is prayer and humanitarian action; it is not political. We are not involved in US politics, let alone politics in another nation. Upon further investigation of the bill (due to the making of this documentary), we would state that many of the provisions of the bill make it untenable in its current form, and we would oppose its passing.

Q. Does IHOPKC send missionaries to Uganda?

A. The International House of Prayer has developed a missions school over the past few years. We have sent missions teams and individual missionaries to many nations. The only missions team that has ever gone to Uganda is the team that the God Loves Uganda film crew followed. We have not sent any other missionaries to Uganda, and while we have friends in Uganda (as we have in many nations), we have no organizational presence there.

Q. Does IHOPKC support missionaries financially?

A. IHOPKC is committed to giving to the poor and to efforts that forward the Great Commission of Jesus throughout the earth. We do this primarily in our own city (Kansas City) through efforts that feed the poor, support widows and orphans, and help local schools and evangelism projects. We also support missionaries in other nations; however, we have never supported any of the individuals shown in the God Loves Uganda documentary.

Q. Does IHOPKC support violence against any sector of society?

A. We categorically repudiate any claims that we support violence. We strongly oppose victimization or violence against any sector of society. We honor the dignity and rights of all whose opinion differs from ours.

Q. The director of God Loves Uganda claims that evangelical missionary activity (including that of IHOPKC) is a numbers game, a fight for souls, and that IHOPKC does not care about social justice or humanitarian issues. Is this true?

A. Evangelicalism has become a byword among many, and perhaps, at times, for good reason. However, the history of evangelicalism sees a people convinced by the claims of Christ as shown in the Bible, which, as a result of a spiritual transformation in their own lives, has led to great social reforms in human history: the abolition of the slave trade, the feeding of the poor, the establishment of labor laws, education as a right for all. We identify and seek to emulate this evangelical tradition, seeking justice for the whole person. We, along with the Body of Christ, seek to serve both the spiritual and physical needs of people: spiritual needs through prayer, Bible translation, teaching, and evangelism, and physical needs through feeding programs, training programs, clothing those in need, combating the orphan crisis, and seeking to end sex-trafficking. The students that the God Loves Uganda film crew followed were involved in prayer, evangelism, and humanitarian activities. At no point were they preaching sexual morality or fomenting anti-gay rhetoric in Uganda.

Q. What is IHOPKC’s stance on homosexuality?

A. We uphold the New Testament view of the sanctity of sex in the context of marriage between one man and one woman. We uphold the teachings of Jesus and the apostles as outlined in the Bible as our primary authority and moral guide. While we recognize that many in today’s society do not accept the sexual ethics as laid out in Scripture, we wish to pursue this ethic as closely as possible in our congregation. Therefore, we seek to lead lives of sexual purity, which includes calling actions of sexual union outside of the marriage covenant sin; such sinful actions include premarital and extramarital sex, be it heterosexual or homosexual in nature. We honor the dignity and rights of all whose opinion differs from ours, and work with many who may hold such differing views.

Q. Why did you give this film team such open access in the filming process?

A. We were given to understand that this film would not pursue a polarizing view of evangelicals and missionary work. We believe that it is important for the good of society to have civil dialogue over the issues of the day. We believe that those in the faith community should not shy away from such discussions. IHOPKC is completely open to civil dialogue and mutual respect in such discussions. It would appear from the inferences, innuendoes, and untruths alluded to in the documentary that the filmmakers were not open to such civil dialogue and have instead pursued a deceptive means to achieve a hateful, polarizing result.

Download a PDF of the God Loves Uganda document »

Listen to interview on National Public Radio »

“God Loves Uganda: In a documentary along the lines of ‘Jesus Camp,’ who’s demonizing whom?” on Christianity Today »